Here’s a surprise. Rams owner Stan Kroenke apparently is driving a hard bargain with Chargers owner Dean Spanos.
According to Steve Hartman of XTRA Sports 1360 (via NBCSanDiego.com), the Rams and Chargers have reached an impasse in their effort to work out a deal that would bring the Chargers back to L.A. as tenants or partners in Kroenkeworld, the new, multi-billion-dollar stadium being built in Inglewood.
Hartman’s information comes from an unnamed Rams official, news which comes only days after the Rams and Chargers issued a statement that the two teams had agreed not to disclose information regarding their talks.
The Chargers have until January 15, 2017 to negotiate exclusively with the Rams. However, the Chargers need to quickly determine whether they will be staying in San Diego for another year or moving to L.A. on a temporary basis in 2016.
It’s possible that the Chargers have decided that it makes sense to spend one more year in San Diego than to rush to L.A., presumably joining the Rams and USC at the Coliseum. Or maybe Kroenke has realized that he should insist on terms so onerous that neither the Chargers now nor the Raiders later will choose to horn in on the Rams’ new turf. Whatever the value of sharing space with a team that would double the inventory of annual NFL games, the Rams presumably would make a lot more money for themselves if they own the L.A. market exclusively.
Even if they simply squat on L.A. for a year or two, they’ll have a huge head start over whoever joins them there.
PFT initially raised the red flag regarding the possibility that the man known in St. Louis as Silent Stan will be as calculatingly ruthless with a potential partner as he was with a hometown he supposedly loves and then left. League sources have expressed optimism that the deal finalized two weeks ago in Houston comes with assurances that Kroenke will be reasonable, and incentives for him to quickly welcome another team to L.A., including for example the immediate ability to sell premium products at the stadium to be opened in 2019.
Ultimately, Kroenke is going to do what’s right for him and his franchise. The best outcome for Kroenke and the Rams could be to own L.A., with the Chargers staying in San Diego and the Raiders staying in Oakland or going to anywhere else but L.A.
For the Chargers, the best outcome could be staying put. With $100 million in new money from the NFL and $550 million in relocation fees that would be avoided by not moving, that’s plenty of extra cash that could go toward building a new venue in San Diego, if Spanos would be willing to surrender on the issue of finagling public money that simply isn’t there to be finagled.